This 1903 photograph shows a happy group setting out for an afternoon on the calm waters of beautiful Sooke Lake. Rowing was the most common form of power for small boats in those days, with the addition of sails when the wind came up.
Boating on local lakes and harbours has been a favourite pastime for generations, but it has been many years since Sooke Lake was open to boaters. A favorite weekend destination for Victoria residents-of-means at the turn of the 19th century, there was an enclave of summer homes at Sooke Lake. Access was via a horse and buggy route heading west from Goldstream. This photo was donated to the museum’s collections by members of the Todd family (the same prominent family that played such an important role in the fishtraps industry of Sooke.)
The rough-hewn landing of planks at the lake’s edge was typical of that day, which took place almost a decade before the waters of the lake were first dammed to provide a sustainable source for Victoria. It wasn’t until 1911 that the challenging water project was undertaken, an initiative to create a concrete pipeline to carry water from this lake to serve Victoria’s needs.
Today security in the form of gates and barriers installed by the administration, the Water Services Commission of the Capital Regional District, protects the watershed area from intrusion by the public, and any potential for disturbance to the increasingly important water supply.
Sooke Region Museum